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Discussion Starter #1
How do I remove/replace the cylinder lock on the trunk lid of a 1997? The interior release mechanism and the latching mechanism are fine. I just need to replace the cylinder lock because it will not allow me to insert the key.


Perhaps a previous owner may have replaced it, but I only got one key with the car which works for doors & ignition. I understand that a new cylinder will have a different key unless I have it rekeyed; that's not a problem.
 

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1997 Corolla CE
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You'll need to remove the trunk garnish, latch, and trunk liner (if you have one). The liner is secured by plastic clips that you can hold the base, unscrew slightly and pull out. The trunk garnish has 4 bolts (10mm I think) and about 6 plastic clips. These plastic clips can be a pain to get to. Removing the latch will give you access to two plastic clips. At each edge of the trunk lid you will see a rubber plug, remove these to gain access to two of the clips. I used a small flat head to carefully depress the prongs that secure it, and carefully pulled back on the trunk garnish. The lock cylinder is secured by two bolts you can access from the back of the trunk lid, and there is a plastic clip securing it to a push rod. You can carefully unclip it. Sorry, I don't have pictures.

Edit: It's on my to-do list of things to try, but if the lock cylinder is good, you can take it apart and rekey it.

 

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Is it possible that you only have the "valet" key which will not open the trunk? I'm not sure if they even had this on these Corollas. If so, maybe you can go to a Toyota dealer and get them to cut you a new key based on the VIN.

How far will the key go in? You could try putting some graphite lubricant in the key hole to see if it will loosen the mechanism up. You could try liquid lubricants but they may attract dirt and gum up in the long run. Maybe you already tried these measures.
 

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Is it possible that you only have the "valet" key which will not open the trunk? I'm not sure if they even had this on these Corollas. If so, maybe you can go to a Toyota dealer and get them to cut you a new key based on the VIN.
There were valet keys, but they will open the trunk just like the regular key. What they won't do is lock or unlock the trunk.

To lock the trunk, you turn the key to the left instead of the right, and remove the key turned that way rather than returning it to vertical before removing it. To open a locked trunk, you put the key in and turn it 180 degrees to the right. When locked (key slot horizontal), the inside lever is deactivated, and the valet key is blocked from turning the lock. When unlocked (key slot vertical), the valet key can open the trunk.

Having the dealer cut from code is the best way to get a fresh key, and some dealers even do it for free as a goodwill gesture (since our keys are dirt cheap, not having a transponder).

I made my own valet key. The difference between a regular and valet key is just one tumbler at the very tip, so if you borrow a valet key from some other Toyota that uses the same blank (I used one from an '06 Corolla) and just copy that tip cut onto the regular key, then you end up with a valet key.

Never did use that valet key though, but it was a fun exercise to see if I could pull it off.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I didn't know about locking the trunk. I thought it was locked if I just closed it. The release by the driver's seat will open the trunk, so I don't think it is locked. I've used lock lubricant, but the key still won't turn. Will try the key again with the unlocking directions just in case that's the problem.
 

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There is a difference between latched and locked.

Its very probable that your key is correct for your trunk, but over time the lock cylinder has seized up from corrosion. Sometimes you can free it up with lubrication, and sometimes you have to take it apart. Start with some WD-40. Its actually a proper use since it will remove any excess water still in the lock. I use lock-ease to keep mine from getting stuck.

-SP
 

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Sometimes on old locks you need to apply an upward or downward force before turning it. I mean in the direction of the vertical slot of the keyhole. It's like the mechanism is worn and doing this lines thing up inside.
 
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